C Times, 21st June 2017, Agartala
Crime against women in Tripura has significantly increased over the past few years. Numerous case of rape, molestation, death due to dowry, sexual harassment, cruelty by in-laws etc is reported every day. The state govt. have miserably failed to curb the crimes committed against women in the state.
In a tragic incident on 21st June 2017, a girl died of severe burns, unable to bear the torture and humiliation inflicted on her for dowry by her husband. The deceased Kabita Noatia (21) d/o late Bikram Noatia, the resident of Taibandai under Melagarh PS was married to Nirmal Noatia (28) of Kalipathar area under Melagarh PS for the past four years. Kabita and Nirmal had a love marriage. They were blessed with a son after two years. Things started to get awry after few months of their son’s birth. Nirmal who is a daily work of a rubber garden started demanding dowry from his wife kabita. Since kabita’s father passed away after two and a half years of their marriage, her mother (a housewife) somehow managed to fulfil his demands. After that Nirmal started to torture and humiliate his wife on a regular basis for more money. She informed this to her mother and in spite of being a widowed housewife her mother arranged some money.
Nirmal did not bother to stop and his cruelty increased day by day. On 20th June 2017, Nirmal had a serious fight with kabita for more dowry and unable to bear the torture anymore kabita set herself on fire by pouring kerosene. She was rushed to Melagarh Hospital from where she was immediately referred to GB Hospital in a very critical situation. She succumbed to her injuries on the morning of 21st June 2017.
Her mother Pranati Noatia claimed that she was murdered by her husband. The police are investigating the case.
According to a report, Twenty-one dowry deaths are registered across the country every day, but the conviction rate is only 34.7 percent.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) states that in 2015, as many as 7,634 women died in the country due to dowry harassment. Either they were burnt alive or forced to commit suicide over dowry demand.
Data further reveals that after registration of dowry deaths, police have charge sheeted around 93.7 per cent of the accused, of which only 34.7 percent have been convicted. The remaining cases are still pending in various courts.
Experts say that the existing law has certain loopholes and needs to be made stricter. Despite amendments made to the Dowry Act in 1983, the desired results are yet desired to be achieved. Improper investigations at the initial stage of a case slow down the process of judicial proceedings, experts rule.
Items such as jewellery, clothes, cars and money are traditionally given by the bride’s family to the groom and his parents under the outlawed custom to ensure that she is taken care of in her new home.
But often the groom’s family demands more dowry after marriage, resulting in mental and physical harassment that can lead to suicide or murder of the bride. Dowry has not only turned out to be a bane for women but even for their families, who often find it hard to arrange the money.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) has expressed concern about the “high rate” of crime against women in Tripura and asked the director general of police to submit a report on it.
A three-member delegation of NCW led by its member Sushma Sahu visited the state on 20th June 2017 and talked to many victims and their family members.